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Crown and Nobility: England 1272-1461 Paperback – Illustrated, Dec 16 1999

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First Sentence
The chronicler Walter of Guisborough wrote of Edward I at the time of his accession that he was 'handsome, tall and elegant, standing head and shoulders above ordinary people, and young of age, not yet having completed his thirtieth year'. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Good study of high-level politics in Anglo-Norman England Nov. 1 2001
By Michael K. Smith - Published on
Format: Paperback
During the first two centuries following the Conquest, the English system developed two characteristics that distinguished it from the rest of western Europe: The monarchy became highly centralized and exercised its authority through institutions that were generally subordinate to the royal will, and the higher nobility was not merely regional but sought to exercise political influence directly over the king and his ministers. The Court was the center of all power in the country, far more so than in France or Germany. Nor was the English nobility a caste, as in France, but might be considered rather to include all men of knightly rank and above -- perhaps 5,000 by the mid-13th century. There was not a sharp distinction between the relatively small number of men who bore titles and their followers because of the longstanding fellowship among those who bore arms. Nevertheless, those who opposed King John and Henry III represented the wealthiest and most influential segment of the nobility, and Tuck thinks this led to a greater division between the titled and the lesser landowning class in the later medieval period. And when the great barons found in 1327 that they could remove the wholly unsatisfactory Henry II, their self-image and policies changed and no succeeding monarch was ever quite absolute. From the accession of Edward I to the deposition of Edward VI, the relationship between Crown and nobility evolved radically, thanks in large part to what Tuck calls the "unfortunate personalities" of Edward II, Richard II, and Henry VI.